When it comes to people, whether on an individual level or within groups of people, we can never make assumptions. We can’t assume that all conventionally attractive people are ugly on the inside. We can’t assume that all “ugly” people have saintly personalities to make up for their lack of “looks.”
And… we can’t assume that everyone experiences mental health in the same way. Everyone experiences mental illness in a different way, even if they share the same diagnosis. Everyone has a different opinion on the usefulness of mental health treatment, with psychiatrists, meds and all that.
Elyn Saks, a renowned advocate for the rights of those with mental diagnoses, is quoted to say, “Some people still hold [the] view that restraints help psychiatric patients feel safe. I’ve never met a psychiatric patient who agreed.”
Well, Saks has not met me.
(Do note that I have no ill thoughts against her. I applaud her work greatly.)
I remember being restrained myself, two-and-a-half years ago. My body was moving against my will. It was attacking people, and I was horrified. I was receiving commands. Those commands were NOT me. So I was tied down, and I was bloody thankful.
It bothers me when people say that certain types of people “don’t exist.” Like… all older men who have young girlfriends are just using them for booty, and are far more sexually experienced than the women they date. Or that all women find receding hairlines unattractive. I mean, I actually like receding hairlines. I find them very attractive.
Or… another “weird” thing about me: I think that German is a beautiful language! The sounds are are pensive and philosophical. The grammar is absolutely stunning as well. It is so structured, and I find that structure beautiful. My German friends lament that theirs is an ugly language. But I always disagree wholeheartedly. Auf Deutsch, natürlich 🙂
It took me a long time to get to the point where I celebrated my quirks. I used to want to fit in, and be perceived as “successful” amongst my peers and acquaintances.
See… when I was younger, and pursuing music as a profession… I had no idea who I was, or why I was doing what I was doing. I did music because “that was what I’d always done.” It had no meaning to me. It was just… I knew I was “good” at it, so that’s why I did it. But deep down, I was terribly unhappy.
We need to wake up. We try to fit in, but we fail to realize that, in the process of “fitting in,” we abandon our individuality. And when we do that, we lose touch with ourselves. We even become ashamed of who we are, at the core, because it is “inconvenient” and “not desirable.” Perhaps a man is gay, yet marries and has children, and wishes he were straight because it would make his inner conflict go away. (I just saw True Detective with Taylor Kitsch, forgive the example.)
Or in my own life: I used to wish I was not a musician, and not a fan of classical music, because it made me uncool amongst my peers. I wished I could understand rock music, but I couldn’t. So then I started to hate the viola. I started to hate music, because it was the wall that separated me from the world.
It’s sad. It’s sad that we set up standards for ourselves. It’s sad that we wish we were something other than what we are. Not sad, as in “pathetic,” but simply… sad. Life entails suffering. We don’t always get what we want. Or what we deserve. Trying to make sense of it is a Herculean endeavor, and none of us are strong enough to accomplish it completely.
Accomplish what? Understanding. Understanding why we are the way we are. For me: Why am I good at music, and why does music bring me such grief?
I want to investigate it further. I think deep down, there is a love for music within me, still. Laying dormant. It is a well-spring, pure and refreshing… but I have not dug down deep enough. One day… I will strike through. And then the reward will burst forth… happiness!
Life is truly good, but we must work to find it.